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Meta Quest 3 review: The VR headset most people should buy in 2024

The Meta Quest 3 brings meaningful hardware upgrades across the board, with notable software updates that have kept it more relevant than ever in 2024.
Written by Kerry Wan, Senior Reviews Editor

Meta Quest 3

4 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

  • Detailed imagery with improved passthrough
  • More compact and comfortable form factor
  • Rich catalog of games and services
  • Accessibly priced
  • Battery life could be better (still less than 2 hours)
  • Not the easiest to wear with glasses

This review was originally published on October 14, 2023, and was updated on February 23, 2024.

ZDNET's buying advice

The Meta Quest 3 is the best mainstream VR headset currently available thanks to its improved passthrough experience from the Quest 2, rich catalog of games and services, and near-untouchable performance at the $500 price point. Sure, the Sony PlayStation VR2 costs the same, but you must also factor in the $400-$500 PlayStation 5 that powers it. Plus, the lack of PCVR support on the PSVR2 makes it a no-go for enthusiasts who want the highest-quality graphics.

Since I first reviewed the Meta Quest 3, the headset has received several software updates including spatial video support, anchor improvements, and battery-saver mode, all of which contribute to a new, higher review score of 4/5, nearly five months after release.

Review: Apple Vision Pro: Fascinating, flawed, and needs to fix 5 things

There's one thing I still wish Meta did differently with the Quest 3 and that's offer a 256GB variant. Currently, the headset only comes in 128GB and 512GB configurations, meaning you either have to settle with just enough memory or possibly more than necessary. My review unit, which has roughly 22 games downloaded, including more graphics-intensive titles like Asgards Wrath 2 is at the 113GB mark of the 128. So if you plan on buying a Quest 3, I'd make a mental note of how much storage your favorite apps and games require in order to make the best buying decision.



LCD with 2064 x 2208 pixels per eye, 120Hz refresh rate




Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2


8GB with 128GB or 512GB

Battery life

1-2 hours depending on use cases


Six advanced camera sensors with high-res color mixed reality, two RGB camera with 18ppd


126 grams each, powered by a single AA battery


Starting at $499

How I tested the Meta Quest 3

I've spent five months using Meta Quest 3, testing a combination of virtual and mixed reality experiences, including stationary-based titles like Out of Scale and Immersed and more mobile ones such as Supernatural and SEGA's Samba de Amigo. It's become routine for me to use the Quest 3 every night for exercise, and I've found myself reaching for it more than my Apple Vision Pro due to its superior comfort and reliable, physical controllers.

Also: Meta Quest 3 vs. Apple Vision Pro: How accurate was Zuckerberg's review?

I'm a full-time glasses wearer, with a prescription that's fortunately not too severe to be a cause for concern when using VR headsets and their built-in lens adjustments. While my tester during my pre-Meta Connect briefing barely fit with my glasses on, I found a comfortable sweet spot with my at-home review unit and have been able to use the headset both with and without glasses. 

I've also been using the Quest 3 with the official Zenni prescription lenses, which I spotlighted late last year. In short, the enhanced comfort and affordability ($50) make them a must-have VR accessory for me.

Meta Quest 3

The new Touch Plus controllers do away with the sensor ring for a better handheld experience.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

What are the Quest 3's best features?

Slimmer form factor: When I first went hands-on with the Quest 3, the slimmer form factor was the first thing I noticed. VR headsets, let alone ones that can operate without being tethered to a PC and external sensors, are naturally front-heavy -- given all the cameras and sensors required to process your surroundings. While the Quest 3 (515g) is actually heavier than the Quest 2 (503g), the slimmed-down components on the front, including the new pancake lenses, make the headset much easier to balance with the head strap.

Meta Quest 3 vs. Meta Quest 2

Meta Quest 2 (left) versus Quest 3 (right). 

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Meta also shrank its Touch Plus controllers, removing the sensor rings that made the previous version clunky and sometimes cumbersome to store. The company says it was able to do this because of the new sensors on the headset (seen above) and some AI/machine-learning enhancements that can better predict your hand and finger movements. 

Also: I've tried Vision Pro and other top XR headsets and here's the one most people should buy

Not only are the new controllers much more handy, but the haptics within are also noticeably more realistic. They can still feel like old Nokia phones buzzing when games trigger the most basic vibrations, but in other cases, they feel solid and tactile, giving me reassuring feedback when I tap a virtual button or charge a blaster.

More cameras and sensors: If Meta's marketing didn't make it clear to you that the Quest 3 was geared towards mixed reality experiences, perhaps the two new RGB cameras and depth projector will. The new headset is better at reproducing your surroundings in full color and is impressively accurate with measuring how close and far away objects are. It's not on par with the visual fidelity of Apple's $3,500 Vision Pro, but more than sufficient for a headset at a fraction of the cost.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

When testing the Quest 3 in my living room, there were several occasions when the MR capabilities made me raise my eyebrows:

  1. You can now map your guardian area -- the space that you designate as "safe to move around with a headset covering your eyes on" -- simply by walking around and letting the cameras and sensors do the scaling work. Some effort is still required, and I highly recommend actually walking around objects like sofas and plants and staring up and down so that the headset gives you the most realistic play space, but the fact that you can do this without a controller is another step into a VR/MR future that's solely operated by your eyes and hands.
  2. The new introductory game, First Encounters, is like Space Invaders but in mixed reality, with aliens literally breaking through your walls and you needing to shoot them down. Having mapped my whole living room for gameplay, it only took a few seconds of seeing virtual cracks on my ceiling to put a smile on my face. And because the passthrough was accurate enough, I wasn't afraid to scurry around and didn't fear bumping into furniture.
  3. I can, to a degree, read and use my phone with the headset on. That's compared to the Quest 2, which, at best, showed a glowing white rectangle and the occasional infrared light.

That said, the new mixed reality experience is not perfect. There were certainly moments when waving my arms around would distort the passthrough, breaking me from the immersion. And the actual color tone can be more cool-toned than how things look in reality. But it's still a major improvement nonetheless, and one that many can appreciate at the $500 price point.

Also: Best VR headsets of 2024: Expert tested and reviewed

Pro-tier pancake lenses: And for nearly a third of the price of what the Quest Pro originally sold for, users will be delighted to know that the 4K+ Infinity Display pancake lenses found on Meta's more expensive VR headset are now present on the Quest 3. That not only expands the field-of-view (FOV) -- how much you're able to see from one corner of the screen to the other -- but drastically improves the detail and clarity of text and images. The upgrade was most noticeable when working on my virtual desktop in the Immersed app, with ZDNET's content creation site requiring less effort than usual to scan and navigate.

Meta Quest 3

The new pancake lenses are much larger than the displays on the Quest 2.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2: Powering the displays and system in general is a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 platform, which promises 2x faster graphics performance than the Quest 2. Because the Quest 3 is backward compatible, meaning it can run existing games and services from the Quest 2, I spent a good hour comparing the load times across different titles like Beat Saber, Superhot VR, Onward, and more on both headsets. 

Also: Meta Quest's latest update delivers 3 big upgrades and 1 downgrade

While the Quest 3 wasn't necessarily operating at twice the speed, it did render graphics a good 4-5 seconds faster. Of course, you'll only notice this difference if you compare the two devices side by side. 

Improved spatial audio: I didn't expect audio to be one of my favorite aspects of the Quest 3, but that's certainly the case. The headset features 3D spatial audio, a surround sound technology that takes virtual and mixed reality experiences to another level. This upgrade was most apparent in my demo of Dungeons of Eternity, when the dungeon master was showing me the ropes in the introduction sequence and I was too busy wandering around, looking at how the textures of the cave were rendered.

What I'd like to see in the next model

Eye-tracking: Being the first headset to bring the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 processor to market, I wish Meta implemented eye-tracking with the next Quest headset, whether it be for navigating the UI or just more realistic interactions when in social apps like Horizon Worlds. This isn't far-fetched; Mark Zuckerberg mentioned in his minute-long review of the Vision Pro that "Apple's eye tracking is really nice, we had those sensors in the Quest Pro..., we're gonna bring them back in the future."

The trickling down of the feature from the Quest Pro would be the most natural next step for the base model, lending to more fluid controls and reactive inputs.

Also: ZDNET's product of the year: Meta Quest 3 is the quiet shocker of 2023

4K display resolution: The Apple Vision Pro is proof that a high-resolution display and immersive speakers (and maybe the backing of Disney) are all that is needed to put media consumption above every other VR use case. I'm not saying a Quest headset with 4K displays will spoil Apple's fun, though it's certainly possible, but a sharper, more pixel-accurate projection would uplift virtually every Quest experience, including gaming, watching movies, and work.

Final thought  

All that is to say that the Meta Quest 3 is the best in its price category -- as is the Quest 2 in the $200-$300 tier -- but even enthusiasts and users who live on the bleeding edge should consider the latest Meta headset if they want to dabble in virtual and mixed-reality experiences. 

This year, I'd like to see Meta get more ambitious; perhaps even revisiting the Pro line and producing a high-end successor that undercuts the Apple Vision Pro while offering more purposeful features for a growing VR customer segment. Because if there's anyone who understands the tendencies of virtual reality users, it's the one who rebranded itself after the metaverse.

Alternative to consider 

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